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Anatomia - Cranial Obsession Award winner

Cranial Obsession
by Lauren Fonto at 05 March 2018, 7:02 AM

With its 2005 debut “Dissected Humanity”, ANATOMIA took inspiration from acts such as AUTOPSY, with a tried-and-tested formula of “carnal demise”. As time went on, the band branched out into its own brand of death-doom metal, and this present release adds a touch of keyboards in between the crushing riffs and “gore-stricken” vocals.

This third album has the mid-tempo numbers reminiscent of AUTOPSY, while also showcasing how the music has evolved into slower interludes, and subtle keyboards which add the right amount of atmosphere. The slow, quiet interludes and intros add variety and give the listener time to catch their breath in between the more hyped-up death metal passages, such as on the tracks “Necrotic Incision” and “Fiend”. The longer numbers are well-written, in that they don’t drag on, but rather contribute to the overall atmosphere, with funerary passages and conjurations of bleak landscapes.

The second half of “Excarnated” creates one of the bleakest imaginary landscapes I’ve ever heard on a doom metal album, with guttural vocals that wash over the listener like freezing waves, and remind me of the vocals from AHAB’s “Below the Sun”. The counter-rhythms and variety of pitch in the clean chants add to the haunted atmosphere. The lack of distinct words in the chants gives the impression of ghosts, and the subtle keyboards thicken the atmosphere. A change in pace adds a sense of unease, with big, ringing doom riffs.

“Uncanny Descension” has a more energetic intro, which makes for a refreshing change. The “horns” sound cavernous, and conjure images of descending into a dark void. The crisp cymbals and gritty guitar riffs make for an effective contrast with the ponderous horns. A sinister undertone creeps in via the bubbling bass and guitars. Echoing, soft arpeggios give a glimmer of hope, only to be dashed by the re-entry of the full band. Hazy guitar counter-melodies swirl around each other.

The loss of hope is emphasized by agonizing screams, and riffs that conjure images of a pit from which there’s no escape. “Abysmal Decay” opens with riffs that are the musical equivalent of a leviathan. The drawn-out vocals add to a feeling of an inevitable grave. The bass is rich in tone, and the croaking vocals add to an atmosphere of despair. The riff changes are subtle, yet engaging. The despair is heightened with the addition of horns and keyboards. The ghosts seem to gather once more in the form of clean chants. A passage with no vocals adds a feeling of unease – are worse happenings to come?

“Cranial Obsession” seems like good evidence to me that ANATOMIA is a titan of Japanese death-doom, if not the global scene. I am admittedly disappointed that I didn’t hear this work of great and terrible beauty in 2017.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Necrotic Incision
2. Fiend
3. Vanishment
4. Morbid Hallucination
5. Excarnated
6. Uncanny Descension
7. Abysmal Decay
8. Recurrence
Jun Tonosaki – Bass, Vocals
Yukiyasu Fukaya – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Takashi Tanaka – Drums, Vocals
Record Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions


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